Sexually transmitted infections and their diagnoses: Bapedi experience
AbstractBackground: The global burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a major concern to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Objective: To document STIs treated by Bapedi traditional healers and their methods of diagnoses in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire with closed and open-ended questions was used to collect data from 34 traditional healers, during a face-to-face interview.
Results: Five seemingly dissimilar STIs; gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, nta (Bapedi-terminology) and syphilis were identified as being treated by Bapedi traditional healers. With the exclusion of HIV/AIDS, all STIs are known by healers via their vernacular names. Not all of the recorded STIs are treated by all the questioned traditional healers. Generally, diagnosis of these infections was based primarily on the presentation of symptoms and certain behavioural traits; mostly unprotected sexual intercourse with multiple partners.
Conclusion: The current study concludes that Bapedi traditional healers play an important role in the treatment STIs in the Limpopo Province. Of concern is their diagnosis which is based primarily on the presentation of symptoms and behavioural traits, which are not always accurate indicators. Thus, to make their contribution to the treatment and management of STIs beneficial, they have to receive elementary training in diagnostic methods particularly for HIV/AIDS.
Keywords: Bapedi, diagnoses, Limpopo Province, sexually transmitted infections, traditional healers.
African Health Sciences 2013; 13(4): 1047 - 1053
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